By an Act of Parliament obtained on the 15th June 1837, the Bolton and Preston Railway Company constructed a link with the Manchester line comprising nine and a half miles of track running from Bolton to a temporary terminus at Rawlinson Bridge, Adlington. This section of line was opened on the 4th February 1841 and was eventually extended to reach Chorley by December 1841. From this date the stop at Rawlinson Bridge disappeared from the timetables and no trace of this station remains. Adlington Railway station was constructed on this route.
The Lancashire Union Railway Company which was incorporated on the 25th July 1864, built railway lines from Boar's Head, north of Wigan, to Adlington, which were opened for goods trains on the 1st November 1869, and for passenger services one month later on the 1st December 1869. White Bear Station, Adlington, was a halt on this section of track. By a succession of mergers and re-groupings the two lines eventually became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway before Nationalization in 1948 when British Rail came into being.
Thus Adlington once had three railway stations, Rawlinson Bridge Terminus, Adlington Station, situated on Railway Road and the White Bear Railway Station which lay off Park Road, Adlington. White Bear Railway Station closed on the 4th January 1960,all that remains of the White Bear Station is the old ticket office which has been converted in to a small cafe, and although Adlington Railway Station is still in use it has recently been substantially altered, and scaled down in size until there is only a ticket office from the old station still standing.
Many of the industrial and commercial enterprises which once operated in the area used the railway as a cheap and convenient means of conveying their products to the available markets. In particular, both Ellerbeck and Duxbury Collieries had quite large marshalling yards from where company wagons transported coal along a mineral line. which ran over Wigan Lane, under Rawlinson Lane and then over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to connect with the main rail routes through Adlington.
The railway bridge at Heath Charnock that carries the A673 Chorley to Bolton Road over the railway line was constructed about 1837. It is at an angle and for this reason is known as a skew bridge. This causes confusion because the bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is similarly constructed and is also known as Skew Bridge.
During the 1930's it was considered that the skew bridge over the railway line was. not strong enough to carry the amount of heavy traffic that had built up over the years and a weight limit of five tons was mooted as being necessary for safety. After further consideration it was decided to strengthen the bridge by constructing a concrete saddle over it to reinforce the structure. The steelwork for the reinforcement was completely erected in six hours on a Sunday morning, both railway lines being closed for the purpose.
The whole operation was planned so as to cause minimum disruption to all public services, mains, cables, etc., both under and over the bridge, and the temporary and permanent diversions necessary demanded the close collaboration of all interested parties. The eventual cost of the bridgework was approximately £10,000. The plan to strengthen the bridge proved totally successful and obviated the need to introduce any weight restriction on vehicular traffic using the bridge.
Network Rail is taking a step in the right direction for train passengers in Adlington by sorting out the problem of the undulating Manchester bound platform
The surface is uneven and at different levels, which can make it difficult to get on and off trains for the elderly and anyone with children. Network Rail has contracted Serco to rebuild the platform at a cost of £1800,000 and work is due to be complete in early 2004. When rebuilt, the platform will be the same height all along its length and will have new coping stones also a tactile surface to aid those with sight difficulties.
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References & Credits:
Adlington (and District), Lancashire by M.D.Smith ISBN 1 873500 01 7